Pubilc Feedback Endorses Two Winning Master Plans for Singapore's Gardens by the Bay
06 Oct 2006
The two winning master plans for Gardens by the Bay ? Singapore?s project to build three landmark waterfront gardens ? have received a strong endorsement from public feedback after a three-week public exhibition of the winning designs conducted by the National Parks Board.
Some 10,000 people visited the exhibition of the two scale models from 6 to 24 September 2006, at the Botany Centre of the Singapore Botanic Gardens. Over 700 people gave feedback (420 in face-to-face interviews; 186 on feedback forms at the exhibition; 36 online and 61 in focus group sessions). The Gardens by the Bay website received over 266,000 hits during the 3-week exhibition, almost seven times more than the preceding month. An overwhelming majority (details below) of those surveyed said they would visit the Gardens based on the concepts.
Dr Kiat W. Tan, Director of Gardens by the Bay, said: ?NParks is pleased with the very positive response to the designs for the Gardens by the Bay by the two winning teams. The public?s feedback supports the decision made by the international jury to award these two winning design teams. They will be appointed to help us create the best gardens possible.
The three Gardens ? located at Marina South (54 ha), Marina East (32 ha) and Marina Centre (15 ha) ? are scheduled to be opened in phases from 2010. The two winning master plans, awarded by an international jury after a nine-month process, were created by international design teams led by landscape architecture firms Grant Associates, based in Bath, England, and Gustafson Porter from London. The master plan competition drew 70 entries from 170 companies from 24 countries.
The findings from the feedback were as follows:
- 420 visitors were interviewed based on a detailed questionnaire in a face-to-face survey at the exhibition. An overwhelming majority (at least 85%) liked the features in the master plans for both the Garden at Marina South and the Garden at Marina East. Of those surveyed, 99.3% and 97.6% (for Marina South and Marina East respectively) said they would visit the Gardens based on impressions gained from the master plan concepts. The favourite feature at each Garden was the cool moist conservatory at Marina South (which received 94.8% of the votes) and at Marina East, the water-themed edutainment feature (92.9%).
- 186 viewers of the Botany Centre exhibition filled in a hardcopy questionnaire on what they liked about the designs and what else they would like to see.
- Six focus group sessions were conducted with people from various life-stages (e.g. students, working adults, housewives, retirees), professional groups (e.g. architects, landscape designers, academics) and special interest groups (e.g. the disabled, members of the Nature Society, sports associations). These focus groups showed that the needs of people in different life-stages are quite distinct but the consensus is that the Garden at Marina South have features appealing to everyone as a destination attraction, while the Garden at Marina East are more for relaxation and enjoying refreshments with families and friends. In addition to the focus groups, a special viewing was held for a group of practitioners and interested citizens who had attended an industry brainstorming workshop organized earlier this year.
The topline-aggregated findings from all the feedback are as follows:
- An overwhelming majority of all respondents were impressed with the designs. The public generally preferred Grant?s designs while some respondents liked Gustafson Porter?s concept just as much. For example, one comment was: ?The combination of a ?showy? garden at Marina South (near the integrated resort) and a more ?close-to-nature? garden at Marina East is excellent! I congratulate the judges for making such a wise and thoughtful decision.?
- Some general suggestions included having good public access to the Gardens with facilities like a people mover system; lots of shade, covered walkways and trees; spaces for children, the elderly and disabled; jogging, cycling and marathon tracks; retention of mature greenery at the sites and links between the three Gardens.
- Other interesting suggestions included having a butterfly garden; a horticultural library for the young; an animal farm; showcase sculptures by international and local artists; a floral maze, a windmill, wind chimes, examples of Chinese, Japanese, European, Zen gardens, and so on.
- The conservatories and the multi-purpose super trees were also well-received although a few commented that they hoped these would be energy-efficient and sustainable and the number of super trees reviewed. One comment was: ?Super trees, cloud mountain and discovery conservatories? it's great to see parallel efforts to conserve nature in the push to create an ultra-modern infrastructure.?
- Some hoped for a measure of defined integration among the three designs eventually. But many were happy that different design teams would do Marina South and Marina East, and that Marina Centre might be developed later with participation from local tender.
- A very few raised some concerns over some aspects of the designs and wished that Marina South did not become a theme park.
Although no master plan was awarded for Marina Centre, feedback was also sought on what the public hoped to see there. In the face-to-face survey, the top amenity asked for was cycling and jogging tracks (29.8%), and the most popular activity expected was outdoor music and buskers (25.2%).
Dr Tan added: ? We would like to take this opportunity to thank members of the public who have taken time to share their ideas and suggestions which will serve as useful reference for the designers in addressing public expectations of the Gardens by the Bay and ensuring that specific features outlined in the master plans cater to the needs of the public. The designers will consider all suggestions and, where appropriate and possible, will try to incorporate them in the final designs.